Is summer Good or Bad time for Bhutan visit?
Summer doesn’t have very good reputation for visiting Bhutan and for a good reason. From June through August, Bhutan is affected by monsoon coming from the Bay of Bengal and while the temperatures are conveniently warm, the chances of occasional showers or continuous drizzling are major setbacks for most of the tourists. Anyway we believe that if you really want to visit Bhutan, you can still enjoy your time during the summer months and below you will find some good reasons for that.
How is monsoon manifested in Bhutan?
Monsoon is the seasonal rainy weather, exhibited differently in every country. In Bhutan, the build-up for monsoon starts with occasional showers in May. While in the first half of June you still might be lucky with the sunny weather, in July and August, two-thirds of the month might rain. The monsoon finally ceases during September with the last heavy rain usually hitting Bhutan during the beginning of October.
In the beginning and towards the end, the monsoon is more likely to be manifested by sudden rain bursts, sometimes storms, often coming in late afternoon, evening or night. In July and August you might experience continuous drizzling of varying intensity thorough the day. Of course nobody can say for sure and even forecasts for tomorrow and day after tomorrow doesn’t really work well in Bhutan due to climatic complexities of the Himalayas.
For comprehensive climatic data with average number of rainy days, perceptions etc. see the Weather Atlas.
Some plus points
Daylight time is up to 14 hours in summer giving you the advantage of 2 more hours for sightseeing compared to spring or fall season and even 4 hours comparing to winter.
Warm temperatures prevails even in the higher elevations and yet in the night. This is definitely attractive for people who don’t like cold.
Lush greenery everywhere! Paddy fields are either being planted or the crop is growing with brisk green color. Usually brownish slopes are covered with verdant grass. No other season offers so vivid greenery as the summer.
Clouds and rainbows casts their magic mainly during monsoon. Scenery of Bhutanese hills refreshed by heavy storm with dark clouds on the sky flared by the single ray of sun might very well be one of the most beautiful snaps you might ever click.
Less tourist are visiting Bhutan in summer so you will not experience crowds which affect some major sights in the spring and fall.
Discounted rate is valid for summer months so you can save some money. Deluxe hotels are also offering much better rates so if you want to indulge in luxury, this is actually time to come.
Cultural tours vs. trekking vs. hiking
Honestly, it is not that great idea to go for trekking in summer, unless you really like rain, mud and leeches. Still, it might be of some curiosity for daring trekkers, since the summer is the best time to meet the semi-nomadic yak herders camping with their cattle at the higher pastures.
On the other hand, summer is fairly good time for cultural sightseeing. Rain is not much of consequence, since most of the sights, temples, museums and castles are either indoors or you can always take a cover somewhere.
Even combining the tour with some hiking is quite possible, though in case unfavorable weather, you need to be ready to change a plan and you better take high-heeled boots and rain-gear.
Relaxing & deluxe tours
If you are inclined to relax in pristine and clean environment while enjoying hotel facilities, being it swimming pool, spa or fine dining, the summer is pretty much best time you can come as otherwise very expensive luxury hotels will become much more reasonable.
Outstanding offer for such kind of stay is provided be newly established Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary which is providing such an unusual services like consultation with traditional Bhutanese medicine doctor, private yoga and mediation classes as well as pottery and cooking lessons all included in the room cost, along with unlimited meals and soft drinks and many more.
Even in summer, there are number of festivals which can be included in your itinerary, namely Haa Summer Festival which is held in Haa valley and consists of mask dances and various competitions. Another solely religious event is Kurjey Tshechu, held in Bumthang’s famous Kurjey Lhakhang complex. There are some other smaller events, especially in the eastern part of the country.
If you have chance to come in the spring or fall, you better plan your tour for that period. Anyway, if your only option is to come in the summer and you are focused on culture and history of Bhutan, don't hesitate and start packing. And if you are after the luxury and relaxing trip, summer is actually your best time!